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Hot Shots Golf Fore!

Developer: Clap Hanz | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 08/17/04 | Genre: Sports

Back when I was much younger, I spent a lot of time on a little 9 hole, 100 yard pitch and putt golf course in sunny Southern California. I recall going there almost every day during the summer and trying to improve my game. My greatest accomplishment was sinking a 60 yard shot after a really bad first shot. I jumped up and down and cheered. People around me did the same. Now all that fun and excitement can be found on the PlayStation 2. No longer are players forced to play their Hot Shots Golf game alone or in a house with friends... No, now we can take our games online and share in the joy and excitement of golf.

Over two and a half years ago Developer Clap Hanz released Hot Shots Golf 3 on the PlayStation 2. The game was very solid. This time around, the big changes to the game are online play, the return of the putt putt courses, the caddy’s, and much harder courses. Some of the same problems still exist with the game though. The two biggest problems are the occasional inconsistent shot and the greens--which are just impossible to read!

Newer gold titles like Tiger Woods PGA Tour and Outlaw Golf use the analog sticks to take control of the club swing. Hot Shots Golf Fore! takes the traditional approach by making players hit a button to start the swing, hit it again at the correct distance you want the ball to go, and then hit the button again to hit the ball straight. If you don’t get the last button just right, you may hook or slice your shot. New players also have the option to make the controls much easier without having to hit the third button press on the swing. Because the difficulty level during tournaments is so high, this may be the way to go until you get used to the play mechanics.

Fore! offers several different gameplay modes: Versus (against the CPU), Tournament, Mini Golf, and a variety of multiplayer options on one PS2 system and over the Internet in the online mode. The mode everyone has been looking forward to is the online mode. This is the major feature fans have been begging for and now they have it. Another feature I mentioned above that I want to describe in more detail is the Mini Golf mode. This is a feature that was in the original Hot Shots Golf and the fans have been begging for it ever since. Developer Clap Hanz has finally given it to us again and I couldn’t be more pleased. This is a perfect party game and because each hole is short, it doesn’t take a lot of time to go through a round.

When the actual gameplay begins, the look and feel will be very familiar to those of you who have played one of the past incarnations before. However, the looks much better visually and has a lot of humor with its characters. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a serious golf game underneath here. So don’t let that push you away from trying out the title. Taking a cue from Outlaw Golf, Clap Hanz has included a multitude of Caddies to give you advice and offer one liners that will more often annoy you than help you. In fact, even when the Caddies are serious and are trying to give you good advice, it will be really generic. For example, while putting, they will tell you to hit a little to the left. What does that mean? It appears that no matter how far over I needed to move to the left to sink the putt, the line was always the same. That is an area where this game needs to get better.

Overall though, Sony has another great addition to the series with the inclusion of the online play mode. However, I do hope that the series will be completely retooled for the next version. But for now, this is about as much fun as you can have with a golf game.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 09/20/04
ESRB Details: Comic Mischief, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes
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Screenshots for Hot Shots Golf Fore!

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LanWerX at PAX '04